Northwestern University is currently appealing a National Labor Relations Board decision that its football players are employees who are eligible to unionize. That decision would only apply to private universities, though, so the Ohio legislature is trying to be proactive about keeping the state's college athletes fully exploitable:
An Ohio House committee added an amendment to a state budget bill Monday that says students attending state universities in Ohio "are not public employees based upon participating in athletics for the state university."If passed, this wouldn't be binding; this question isn't up to the legislature, but to the state labor board. Still, Travis Waldron argues that such policies could hurt teams:
While Republicans often tout the benefits of right-to-work laws and other anti-union policies, the better benefits negotiated by organized workers can make certain places more attractive to workers. That could certainly be the case in college football, where unions could lead to benefits — better scholarship protections, full cost-of-attendance scholarships, better educational opportunities, better health care coverage, and, eventually perhaps, better compensation — at certain programs that either force non-unionized programs to follow along or face a competitive disadvantage in trying to attract players. In Connecticut, for instance, lawmakers are already exploring how to make unionization possible for their athletes. Ohio’s top schools may be at a disadvantage if unionized programs in other states are offering better benefits.Here's hoping!